Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Kisu Rhee, an individual, v. Allegheny Intermediate Unit Number 3, No. 2608 January Term, 1972.
Thomas E. Lippard, with him Houston, Cooper, Speer & German, for appellant.
Thomas M. Rutter, Jr., with him Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 395]
This is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing the petition of Kisu Rhee (Rhee) for a writ of mandamus ordering the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Number 3 (Intermediate Unit) to (1) grant him a contract as a professional employe, (2) reinstate him to his former position, and (3) refrain from demoting or discharging him unless and until it granted him the hearings and safeguards to which he was entitled as a professional employe under the Public School Code of 1949 (Code).*fn1
In July of 1968, Rhee had received notification from the Allegheny County Board of School Directors (the predecessor to the Intermediate Unit) that he had been elected by them to the position of Assistant Director, ESEA Title VI, as related to special education and the Regional Instructional Material Center of the Allegheny County School Board. Rhee held this position until October 9, 1971, at which time he was discharged for incompetency, neglect of duty, and other improper conduct. After his demand for a hearing on his discharge
[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 396]
was denied by the Intermediate Unit, Rhee brought a mandamus action before the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. The Court, presided over by the Honorable Frederic C. Weir, dismissed the action and Rhee's subsequent exceptions, and this appeal then followed.
Initially, we must note our scope of review. We agree with both parties that the Supreme Court, in Lawner v. Engelbach, 433 Pa. 311, 313, 249 A.2d 295, 297 (1969), stated our role when it said, "At the appellate level it is not our duty to find the facts but to determine whether there is evidence in the record to justify the trial court's findings of fact." Mindful of our limited scope of review, we now discuss the issue presented by this appeal.
We agree with Judge Weir that the sole question for determination is whether Rhee is a "professional employe" as that term is defined in Section 1101(1) of the Code, 24 P.S. § 11-1101(1). If Rhee is a professional employe, then he has all the rights incident to such status, including the right to a hearing upon notice of dismissal.
Judge Weir found that Rhee was not a professional employe. Rhee argues that this ruling was erroneous because it was based on findings of fact not supported by sufficient evidence and was the result of improperly drawn legal conclusions. We disagree and therefore affirm.
Rhee first attacks, as unsupported by the evidence, Judge Weir's finding that the Intermediate Unit denied Rhee was required to furnish the School Board with a teacher's certificate. We believe a reading of the record indicates that the testimony of the witnesses for the Intermediate Unit did implicitly dispute Rhee's claim on this point. Therefore, this finding is supported by the evidence. Further, as will be made clear later in ...